“As he who hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation.”
(1 Pet. 1.15).
Legal hearts turn evangelical exhortations into legal commands. So children of faith are brought back again from the land of promise to the house of bondage. It is not more absurd to command a corpse to exert itself to perform actions of life in order to get life, than to suppose a believer to be destitute of the life of holiness and excite him to holy actions in order to procure it. Zeal for holiness without knowledge of the true nature of it, is unscriptural ignorance. Every believer in Jesus is holy. As being a member of the first Adam, he betakes of the life of sin and the spirit of unholiness; but being united to Jesus, Christ is his life. He betakes of the life of holiness and the spirit of holiness. This is evidenced by the outward holiness of his life.
For this reason exhortations to excite such to a holy conversation, are as necessary as they are frequent. Are you a child of God by faith in Christ Jesus? What inestimable honour is this! It should be your daily care and constant concern to walk worthy of this high and honourable vocation. It degrades your birth to stoop to gratify base lusts; it demeans your character to take up in the least with the slavery of sin and drudgery of Satan. It was good advice a heathen gave a prince, lest he should learn evil from bad company: ‘Always remember you are a king’s son.’ So ever remember, Christian, you are a son of the King of kings. Your Father is holy; study to be like Him; aim to resemble Him in your daily walk. This day you will be exposed to the snares of sin and temptations to evil; they ever beset you. Remember your calling; it is to holiness of life; think of the end of it; happiness in glory. It sounds as harsh in one’s ears to hear of a wicked Christian as to hear of a dark sun. But beware of making an idol of your own holiness. We read of Pygmalion, who had got an image so lively, that he took it for a real person, and fell in love with it. This seems to be the case with some; they are more taken up with, talk more about, and seem more in love with an image they have made of their own holiness and perfection, than of the glorious righteousness of Jesus Christ. Yes, they so esteem their own holiness, that they think it is to effect for them more than Christ’s righteousness has, even secure and make effectual their own salvation. Thus the imputed-righteousness of Christ is taken out of their faith and affections, to make way for their pretended holiness. This is the very essence of a Pharisee. But, “being made free from sin (the power of pride within, as well as of sin without), and become servants of God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.” (Rom. 6.22).
William Mason (1719-1791)